I often feel like the biggest living contradiction as I am a recovering perfectionist who has high expectations for herself and yet I lack discipline to actually get things done. I never used to be that way – I was one of those people who got all her work done and often over-delivered. The changes came when I became a stay at home mother almost nine years ago.
One of my biggest struggles has always been the lack of deadlines. No matter how much I tried to create them artificially – with to do lists, using timers, finding new routines that would stick – the bottom line still remained that I really could choose to do things or not. Often I chose “not”.*
Sometimes that choice is socially acceptable – choosing to play with my kids instead of cleaning the toilets. What about when I choose to read a book or watch a movie** instead of taking care of the house?
Things always got done in the end so what did it matter?
After 8 years of being the master of my time, and knowing there was almost always “tomorrow”, I have struggled since starting this blog. It is like an unused muscle that I am trying to flex and – ouch – it is so sore.
Now I feel a whole new set of expectations and a different kind of commitment. It has all been a learning experience and so much of the advice out there is “consistency is king” – if you are going to blog do it on set days or every day – just do it the same. It makes me feel similar to making parenting choices – start as you mean to go. If you do something casually (to you) once or twice with kids they take it as the new routine. By the third day they are looking for that same thing again even if there are no more ice blocks or you are not in the mood for that special 3pm story time you did twice so far. Be careful what you repeat as they are tuned into that like nothing else.
So with a blog if you do something a few times are you meant to keep delivering that regardless of your own moods and needs? I don’t have the real answer just the struggle with defining for myself what is about me and what is about you, the reader. If I write simply because it is a day I am supposed to write is that good enough or should I wait for the days when I have something to share and say? Is it good for me to push myself to stretch that discipline muscle finally after all these years and start doing things just because?
Clean the toilet because it is Tuesday?
Write a blog post because it is a week day?
After so many years of working hard to let go of that perfectionism and high expectations is there a way to reconnect with discipline that does not involve adding pressure and anxiety to my life? Those really are the side effects (for me) of perfectionism and expectations. I have been working for years to be more laid back thinking that was the “better” way of life. It certainly seems to be praised and recommended – chill out, relax, lighten up, don’t stress so much, whatever will be will be, don’t try to control everything, wing it a little bit…
but still manage to deliver what you set out to do.
I don’t have any answers yet – so far just the struggle to find the balance between getting things done and still enjoying life as a stay at home mother (in transition). This bridge between full time motherhood and whatever is coming next is covered in fog and I keep waiting for it to blow over.
Find your simple,
* and my most effective tool to counter this is to invoke Nike and tell myself to “Just Do It” – push myself right in the moment and get it off my plate.
** today I am not making any excuses for ditching it all and heading to the first session of the Hunger Games, sometimes escape really is the best recharge.
Discipline by flickr user Grotuk
Foggy Bridge by flickr user Zonie Zambonie